Dreaming of Spain in the City

ARROZ

901 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20001 (https://arrozbymic.com/)

*** and 1/2 (Excellent/Outstanding)

“Life moves pretty fast…” at least according to Ferris Bueller. I initially intended for this blog to detail dining adventures on a regular basis. But life has a tendency of throwing curveballs, and we’ve been busy as of late…just not eating our way through the DMV. However, with a recent chance to celebrate my birthday, I jumped at the opportunity to head to the well reviewed Arroz. Mike Isabella continues to spread his wings: this time delving into the flavors of Spain, Portugal, and Morocco. Spoiler alert: I hope to find these flavor profiles in more places within reach. If Isabella is able to execute this well as his empire continues to grow, the DMV will be that much luckier.

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Still Room to Grow

SFOGLINA

4445 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20008 (http://www.sfoglinadc.com/)

** (Good)

Our first encounter with chef Fabio Trabocchi was last summer at his original, and superb, restaurant Fiola. When I heard about his latest entry into the D.C. dining scene: the pasta-centric Sfoglina, I was intrigued. Sfoglina, the Italian word used to describe the traditional female pasta makers who roll out pasta sheets by hand, rightfully spotlights different pasta varieties throughout its menu. Spending a recent evening out with the family noshing, expectations may have been a little high given our previous Trabocchi restaurant experience. And while it may have been impossible to match the luxury of the original, we found the newest addition to Van Ness a welcome change to the neighborhood.

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Believe the Hype

ALL-PURPOSE PIZZERIA

1250 9th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001 (http://allpurposedc.com/)

*** and 1/2 (Excellent/Outstanding)

Sometimes restaurant hype can be difficult to live up to. With high expectations, even a so-so meal can bring everything crashing back down to earth in a hurry. So when the braintrust behind Red Hen opened up the pizza-centric All-Purpose right down the street from the Convention Center, it was no surprise that the initial word was positive. After Tom Sietsema proclaimed All-Purpose his favorite D.C. restaurant in the Washington Post Fall Dining Guide, my expectations started to get a little out of hand. But there are occasions where restaurants justify the hype. And after securing two dinners recently, I can say without hesitation that All-Purpose is slinging the best pizzas in the District; and some of the best pies I’ve had, anywhere.

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Asian Food Meets French Technique

KYIRISAN

1924 8th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001 (http://www.kyirisandc.com/)

** and 1/2 (Good/Very Good)

Pressure had to have been high for Chef Tim Ma. He left the comforts of Arlington, Virginia, where his original restaurant Water & Wall had been receiving positive reviews, to start up a new venture in D.C. While Water & Wall remains under Ma’s supervision, he added the much-anticipated Kyirisan to the continually expanding Shaw District. Kyirisan, which describes its menu as Chinese-French, blends seemingly disparate techniques and ingredients into harmonious and, most importantly, delicious food. If our meal was any indication of Ma’s skill, he made the right choice in expanding: I have no doubt that the District will continue to flock to Kyirisan.

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On the Road with CPT: Charleston

The first time I came across Chef Sean Brock was on the beloved PBS Show, The Mind of a Chef. Here was this bearded, bespectacled fella, giggling along with Chef David Chang as they ate way-too spicy Kentucky Hot Chicken and then pounded whiskey at a distillery. But then he started talking about heritage cooking and utilizing South Carolina ingredients that were long forgotten; some of which nearly disappeared. The pride he showed in describing his love of food was inspiring. It was while watching this passionate side of Brock, that I made sure to make a mental note to put his flagship restaurant, Husk, on my list of must-try restaurants. So when my wife and I were searching for a honeymoon destination in the U.S., I threw out Charleston as a possibility. Spoiler alert: between the views and the food, Charleston did not disappoint.

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